Aesthetic Adjectives Lack Uniform Behavior

Abstract
The goal of this short paper is to show that esthetic adjectives—exemplified by “beautiful” and “elegant”—do not pattern stably on a range of linguistic diagnostics that have been used to taxonomize the gradability properties of adjectives. We argue that a plausible explanation for this puzzling data involves distinguishing two properties of gradable adjectives that have been frequently conflated: whether an adjective’s applicability is sensitive to a comparison class, and whether an adjective’s applicability is context-dependent.
Keywords aesthetic adjectives  gradable adjectives  predicates of personal taste  experimental semantics  experimental philosophy  experimental philosophical aesthetics  context  comparison class
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DOI 10.1080/0020174X.2016.1208927
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